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Teaneck businesswoman charged with scamming Veterans Administration out of $1.2M

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Federal agents arrested a 54-year-old Teaneck businesswoman this morning on charges of obtaining $1.2 million in government contracts by falsely claiming that her company was owned by service-disabled military veterans.

Miriam Friedman was due in federal court in Newark this afternoon in connection with a federal wire fraud complaint, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said.

Friedman, who surrendered with her lawyer this morning to special agents from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Office of the Inspector General, owns and operates Office Dimensions Inc., which sells furniture and design services to industrial and government customers, with her husband, Fishman said.

The couple “controls Office Dimensions and all its revenues, as well as run the company’s daily operations,” he said. “Neither served in the U.S. military, but Friedman’s father-in-law is a retired U.S. military veteran.”

In November 2009, Miriam Friedman certified in a central registry for government contractors that Office Dimensions was a service-disabled veteran-owned small business, the complaint on file in U.S. District Court in Newark says.

In her certification, it alleges, she falsely claimed that her father-in-law was the owner and operator, even though he “had very little involvement with Office Dimensions and was not service-disabled.”

Friedman then bid for VA contracts set aside for service-disabled veterans who own their businesses, the complaint says, adding that the VA then paid out the contracts in January 2010 through November 2011.

“For years Miriam has provided quality service to the veterans and the Veterans’ Administration,” defense attorney Brian Neary, who is representing Friedman, told CLIFFVIEW PILOT. “We will dispute any fraud in those dealings with the VA.”

Fishman credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General, the U.S. General Services Administration Office of the Inspector General and IRS – Criminal Investigation.

Representing the government is Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott B. McBride of Fishman’s Health Care and Government Fraud Unit in Newark.

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